Our hearts go out to the families of those callously gunned down in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. What a wicked act! Everyone is asking, of course, how does a person walk into a church (and the perpetrator of this crime apparently sat with them for an hour before murdering them) and then execute nine people of faith? That is exactly the question we should ask.
Human personality is collective, developmental and does not appear ready-made and complete. In other words, this young man drew his ideas from somewhere; someone or some people played a role in his life. Where did he learn to hate Black people? What on earth gave him the idea that murdering people was okay? These will be difficult questions to answer since the mind is also mercurial and despite even good influences, will bend toward the wicked. But one thing that is not difficult to answer is how he was able to purchase a gun in the United States. The NRA owns so many of our congresspersons, has acted as a ministry of propaganda for the arming of any and everyone and in the name of freedom has facilitated a process that makes these deadly weapons more easily available than drugs.
Indeed, guns + hatred in America is a drug. Faiths United to Prevent Handgun Violence reports : “New research was just released showing that the licensing of all handgun purchasers in Connecticut has led to a 40% drop in gunhomicides in the state. This is just on the heels of last year’s study that showed a 25% increase in gunhomicides when Missouri repealed it’s requirement that handgun purchasers be licensed. Both studies ruled out other possible explanations for the changes in gun homicides.”
May a surge of effort arise out of churches and likeminded persons who are sick and tired of gunhomicides in this country. Let us work together to make handgun purchaser licensing a national priority. You can begin by visiting Tale of Two States and signing the resolution to legislate such a requirement. In the meanwhile, we will pray for Emmanuel AME. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.